I can’t stop this feeling, deep inside of me … Ooga-Chaka Ooga-Ooga!
There are approximately 11 gabillion reviews out there telling you how amazing “Guardians of the Galaxy” is and fawning all over James Gunn, Chris Pratt, and the rest of the stars. And I’m here to tell you, they’re not wrong.
I’ve been trying to manage my expectations since the first trailer debuted back in February and was failing miserably. With every new trailer, clip, set pic, interview, morsel of information that came out over the past several months, my hopes for this movie only grew. I wasn’t disappointed.
Please allow me to geek out for a moment … SQEEE !! OHMUYGLOB GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY IS SOOOOOO GOOD !! I LOVE IT I LOVE MARVEL !!
Okay, thank you for indulging me, now on with the review.
I could go into great detail describing the plot of “Guardians” but I’ll definitely get into spolier territory so I’ll just sum it up as simply as possible. Peter Quill (Pratt) is hired to find an orb. He does and gets arrested. He makes friends with some fellow inmates: master assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), bounty hunter thieves Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel), and Drax the Destroyer (Dave Batista).
They realize Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) wants the orb to destroy a planet, so they team up to escape prison, stop Ronan, and save the galaxy.
Though the movie does open on a somewhat gut-wrenching scene explaining Quill’s tragic backstory, the overall mood and spirit of the film is light and fun. The dialog is quick and hilarious with more 80’s pop-culture references than you’ll be able to pick-up on first viewing. The colors are rich and vibrant, a total visual smorgasbord. All set to a rockin’ 70’s soundtrack that includes Redbone, The Runaways, and Rupert Holmes, just to name a few.
If I didn’t own 90% of the soundtrack already I would have been downloading it from iTunes as I walked out of the theater.
The cast is perfect. Pratt is crazy charismatic. He has spot-on comedic timing but also knows how to tug on the heart-strings when need be. And I swear, with each GIF-set on Tumblr and interview on youTube I see, the man just becomes more and more adorable. Professional wrestler turned actor Batista was surprisingly charming as the super-literal gray-skinned alien. I didn’t know much about him going in but he won me over and made Drax an interesting and captivating character.
Cooper does what he does best, make sarcastic remarks and be an all-around a-hole as the voice of Rocket. But there’s a deeper side to the character and Cooper pulls that out too. The biggest shock came from Diesel as Groot. It’s a walking, talking tree, how are you supposed to turn that into a compelling character?
I have no idea how he did it but I didn’t know the words “I” and “am” and “Groot” (exclusively in that order) could mean so much. It should get old, but each time you hear it, with each different inflection, it takes on a whole new meaning. If you don’t leave the theater caring about Groot then you don’t have a soul and I don’t want to know you.
Saldana fit well as Gamora, but sadly, her character is the least interesting. She isn’t given much to do and I didn’t feel her backstory matched her character. Gamora is in the middle of reforming her assassin ways and I found it hard to believe she was the ruthless killer everyone says.
Her adoptive sister Nebula (Karen Gillan) on the other hand I had no trouble believing. That chick is scary.
Lee Pace is an actor I normally really like. He’s cute and charming and has an accent and is just generally a delight. He played Ronan well, I just wish he’d gotten a chance to be a little more Lee Pace-y.
But then again, the MCU is known for its villain problem, for villains other than Loki that is. “Guardians” is no exception.
Let’s start with his name, Ronan the Accuser. The Accuser? That’s like the guy in your office that’s always going around blaming people for stealing his post-its or using his coffee cup. Annoying sure, but does he really strike fear into your heart? He’s, as Thanos puts it, a whiny, petulant child.
Thanos, on the other hand, has some definite potential. And Marvel is slow-playing the hell out of this guy. It’s been two years since we first caught a glimpse of the purple-faced bastard in “The Avengers” and it’s still another three or four years till he’ll take center stage as the big bad in “The Avengers 3.”
What Ronan really lacked was a clear motivation. Why does he want to destroy this planet? Why is he rebelling against his own Kree people? Do you really need five servants throwing gold powder at your diaper after your bath? (One or two maybe, five seems a bit excessive.)
He did have a really nifty spaceship though.
I should probably also mention the supporting actors. Benicio del Toro returns (from “Thor 2” post-credits scene) as the slightly menacing, slightly creeperish Collector, whose den is full of easter eggs for those paying close attention. John C. Reilly has some excellent one-liners as Nova corpsman Rhomann Dey, a space cop essentially. And there’s something slightly maniacal about Michael Rooker’s Yondu Udonta
OH, and Kirk! You know, from “Gilmore Girls.” He’s also known as Sean Gunn, a.k.a. writer/ director James Gunn’s younger brother. I had no idea how much I was missing Kirk in my life till I saw him pop up in the background here as Yondu’s second-in-command, Kraglin.
“Guardians” isn’t perfect and I could get super nitpicky about Quill’s references not always making sense for his character to know but it doesn’t matter. This movie is SO much fun! Humor, action, and heart backed by spectacular visuals, a great cast, and an interesting story. It’s another great entry into the MCU and the perfect summer blockbuster.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” is awesome! Go see it, and then see it again!